Spandau Ballet Soul Boys of the Western World


Tuesday night cinema club was a bit different this week. Instead of the usual crowd I went with my Mum to see the premier of Soul Boys of the Western World which was being broadcast live from the Royal Albert Hall to our local cinema.

Our local cinema has been doing these type of live feed events for a while but it was the first time I went to one and I was interested to see how it works.

When we got there the screen was showing the still card for the film and as we waited for the live introductions we were shown still photos from the Spandau archive.

Then the documentary was introduced by Lauren Laverne and we were told there would be a live Q&A and performance from the band after the film so we settled in to watch.

Being a young child in the 80’s I grew up listening to Spandau Ballet courtesy of my Mum so I find the opportunity to connect with the band as an adult an exciting opportunity.

I’ve always found the music so upbeat, I can’t help but sing and dance along. I have fond memories of seeing them at the O2 in 2009 with my Mum, we both left saying we wanted to see them live again.

Anyway enough Spandau reminiscing, back to the documentary. Seeing the archive footage of the 1980’s was strange for me because it doesn’t tie in with my memories of the 80’s. I don’t remember seeing people dressed like that other than on the TV and I was too young to understand the political situation.

The documentary was an honest look at what life was like for the band and that really interested me. You could see from the start there was a battle for control between Gary Kemp and Tony Hadley.

It seemed like Gary was always hard on Tony and maybe that’s because whilst Gary wanted to control everything Tony had the charisma to lead the band on stage.

I don’t think there is a smoother front man than Tony Hadley and his voice is amazing, even now. I love watching the way he commands the stage and those strong notes he holds.

It was sad that things became difficult between Gary and Tony but the signs were always there. Even now there still looks to be an atmosphere between them, but the simple fact is Spandau Ballet exists because Gary writes beautiful lyrics and Tony belts them out and they need each other to work.

But the film was about more than Gary and Tony. We laughed at how they all looked so young and then seeing how they aged at the end, some better than others it has to be said.

But you get to see another side too, the real side, the funny characters and the good times. The cockney sing along on the boat around Sydney Harbour made me laugh.

The costumes and haircuts alone were an eye opener. Martin trying to explain his Bedouin outfit to an American interviewer stuck in my mind. You couldn’t help but wonder what they were going to wear next.

One minute they are dressed like extra’s from Downton Abbey and the next they are wearing belted boiler suits. God knows how many tins of hairspray they went though keeping those haircuts in check!


But the music is the main part of the story and Spandau made some great songs True, Gold, Only When You Leave, Round and Round, I’ll Fly For You, Through the Barricades there are so many and only now can I realise how good those songs really are.

Seeing the footage of them performing to a packed crowd of hundreds of thousands at the Isle of Wight festival in 2010 just made me wish I was there.

I hope they tour again soon because last night made me want to be a part of their live show again.

If you were a fan then go and see the film, it was really good. Even if you aren’t and want a trip down memory lane to the 1980’s you will find it interesting.

Was there ever a cooler group who took their name from some graffiti on a German toilet wall? I doubt it!

I couldn’t leave you without a couple of songs to get you dancing! Oh and just look at those videos what are they all about…

Well we’re all a little fool for someone!


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